Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking: Verizon FIXES overcharging issue

Yesterday, NY Times' David Pogue took Verizon Wireless to task over miscellaneous charges appearing on his bill .... due to 'hitting the wrong key' and receiving a data charge.

I seriously doubt that anyone that owns a Verizon web-enabled cellphone  would disagree with this. It's a known problem.  I've been told about it by numerous Verizon Wireless employees ...... and it has caused them huge headaches (and lots of calls to customer service).  This, despite employees trained to warn customers when selling the phones as well as demonstrating locking features.

In my case, I took the time to call and have the charges deleted when they occurred.  It was easy and fast but no doubt, an unnecessary call and waste of time.

One of the phones in my family plan, an LG Env Touch (or VX11000), despite a locking touchpad and other security features, still managed to access services I don't use and incur monthly charges.

I phoned Verizon and simply had those services blocked a few months ago.  (Yes, you CAN do that).

A better fix??

A few hours ago, I received a text from Verizon informing of an impending software update. It was the first I had seen in a while and mentioned 'a change in the Verizon Home front page'.  (Verizon sends texts in advance of most software updates because the updates automatically re-boot the phone).

About an hour or so after the text, I heard the phone re-boot.

Of course, curiously got the best of me and I visited the Verizon home mobile page.

It read "For (as little as) $1.95 a day, you can access the WWW .... Click here".

While this is still somewhat misleading (the mobile web on some plans is charged by megabyte), it is a huge improvement over the past when many users simply accessed the home page or Verizon's GPS navigator (which is excellent) and at the end of the month .... received 'the bill surprise'.

While I didn't get much of a chance to network with others today to see if other phones were updated (yet), it's my guess that this will mean more revenue for Verizon and not less. Blocked phones can now use any feature and it's almost impossible to just stumble on them.

Smart move by Verizon.

Now if there was only a Google Voice app .... hmmm.

Clarifications: (1) Blackberry contracts (which automatically get billed the data plan) may differ from the above. (2) Verizon now offers blocking of various services and downloads (as well as specific  e-mail addresses and other features) directly from 'your account' at